President of the Romanian Social Democrats (PSD) Liviu Dragnea has claimed that he was the subject of an assassination attempt last year. Speaking on Tuesday on the Antena 3 TV channel Dragnea said that he was targeted by “four foreigners” who were paid by “a famous man known worldwide.”
Dragnea told Antena 3 that he had information that someone wanted him dead and that his assassination was attempted last year. “In April (2017) four strangers came, who were staying at the Athenee Palace (in Bucharest), from what I was told, and stayed there for three weeks.” The PSD leader said that he was able to flea from his attackers, but that they came close to carrying out the assassination.
Dragnea offered further details on the alleged attempt on his life after the original interview with Antena, saying that he has been receiving death threats since the PSD won the 2016 legislative elections.
“A few days after winning the election, I began to receive threats. No matter who they came from, they were full of violence. They have slowly shifted from veiled threats to direct death threats,” Dragnea said. “In the second part of March, this pressure began to increase…I began to notice individuals who were watching me.” Dragnea said that these individuals made threatening gestures at him, and fearing that he was mistaken, he asked his partner Irina, who said that she too was being followed.
Turning to the events leading directly to the alleged assassination attempt Dragnea said: “One evening in April, I was in a public space, there were four people dressed in dark clothes. I was in a group, at a restaurant. They stopped a few yards from me, one made a [threatening] gesture, then they came back and disappeared. A few days after I was on a street in the September 13 district, when they tried to block [my car]. I managed to pass, but they tried to open the doors to the car. This has confirmed to me that they have serious intentions.”
Dragnea’s claims have been met with ridicule in Romania with many citizens taking to social media to lambast the unpopular politician, not least because his claim that he reported the assassination attempt to the authorities, who have since been investigating, it has been denied by the General Prosecutor’s Office. “There is no confirmation of a criminal case regarding a possible assault against Liviu Dragnea,” the General Prosecutor’s Office said in a statement.
Dragnea, who has been banned from serving as Prime Minister because of a conviction for corruption, also drew the ire of Romanian citizens when he characterised popular protests against corruption as an attempted coup d’etat organised by foreign multinationals trying to destabilise the Romanian economy.